I am actually crazy about Dim-Sums - but i am also after a comfortable environment to eat in. Thats why I am generally unsatisfied with Lin Heung House@Central which my family pays weekly tribute to, as it is constantly so crowded and noisy with people literally fighting for the dim-sums they want. You cant even scratch your arms or read your papers properly there. The dim-sums are not particularly tasty as well (except the sesame bun which, sadly, are only supplied after ten thirty or eleven on weekend mornings) as they were quite roughly made and too stomach-filling: imagine bbq pork buns of the size of a fist, and chicken rolls of the size of a mini swiss roll. You cant sample with a large variety of dim sums unless you have the exceptional gift of a bottomless stomach which is so not my way of eating. Another problem with this place is that my family is leaving way too early in the morning and I just cannot cope with that!
These have led me to seek for another place for a decent dim-sum fix either in the morning or in the afternoon - there are way too many tea-houses, either traditional or contemporary, budget or high-ended ones, waiting to be discovered, and it is way too stupid and stubborn to stick with just one and only one of them!
One of the nicest dim-sum places I have been to include 新興食家
in Sai Wan, despite its uncomforty eating environment - a bite of its 流沙飽 is powerful enough to make you forget where you are but to emerge yourself into the perfectly runny, rich and sweet delicacy. I was mostly disappointed by the special report on the top dim-sum places in hong kong done by a magazine - how could they have not included 新興?
anyways, this minor piece of discovery reveals how sometimes media coverage can be misleading and/or subjective. There are hell more shops and bistros offering the best dim-sums you could imagine hiding out there, waiting for you to make a trial and take a bite on.
...enough with this BS. I discovered this shop when I was walking around Sheung Wan two months ago and was amazed by how the place was filled with people even at odd hours like four or five in the afternoon. I made a note to remind myself of giving this place a try when i had the chance to.
And finally came the correct timing.
At seven in the evening i arrived, and there were already 10-12 people eating halfway done.
shocked, we settled at a table and were served with hot tea, and the ah-tse kinda rudely threw us the dim-sum paper to place order with. ><
About 30 kinds of dim sums are offered, ranging from the traditional and orthodox buns and stuff to the more creative, 'fusion' ones like the steamed taro and pumpkin cake(which, sadly, has been sold out when i went). Some more interesting options like the '米網黃金腸' are also available.They also have some stir-fried dishes which we find uninteresting - we came for the dim-sums and were determined!
Our first round of order
At last, we ordered the must-have 雪山叉燒包
and a plate of veggies.
It did not take long before the baked BBQ buns were ready. They were pipping hot as the buns gave off a sweet and buttery aroma. They looked smaller than what i had expected however, being at the size of half a palm. Nevertheless they tasted great - the top crust was coated with a relatively thin but crispy pineapple-bun-style pastry which was not oversweetened, and the bbq pork bun was of the right fluidity and taste. The bun was soft and sweet too.
You cant do much with a plate of plain blenched vegetables, and i bet they have done quite a good job by not overcooking them. phsh..
Then came the shrimp dumplings. They were SMALL - id just call them the 'petite fours' then.
The shrimp filling was bouncy but a little bland when tasted, more pepper could have been used, but the coating was not too sticky, which was good. I guess the $19 was worth paying tho.
Then the 'lau sa bau' - something i will always sample with whenever i go yum cha. The three little sweet buns were snowy white and look oh-so-smooth-and-innocent with their smooth surface. I quickly grabbed one and tore it open by half, and was delighted to find the runny, lava-ish filling inside.
It tasted great too, being less oily and sweet than what's offered in 新興. Yet one problem with it is that the bun is way too thick and way too much.
The filling was not voluminous enough when compared to the bun's - had the balance been more even it would be as good as what i get at 新興.
Time for some creative dim-sum after the slightly disappointing lau-sa bau and here came the 米網黃金腸
. It was basically deep-fried, crispy rolls with veggie and meat crumbs wrapped in freshly steamed rice rolls. I was slightly disappointed by the double-thickness of the rice roll as it would adversely affect the texture of the dish, but it turn out to be alright as the spring roll inside was extremely crispy-so crispy that i thought i was biting into a naked spring roll without the rice roll on! Too bad they only had some bad-quality sweet sauce here. Had there been both sweet and sesame sauce, and perhaps a dash of yue kwan yik bean paste...it would be a much better dim-sum than what it had been without them.
We had not expected the dim-sums to be so small in portion (being too used to the huge varieties served at lin heung) and thus had under-ordered during our first round of order. After looking at the paper again (and being disappointed by the info that the taro and pumpkin cake had sold out), we eventually ordered another 雞扎
as a concluding sweet 'dessert' to our dim-sum dinner.
the chicken rolls were much smaller than whats usually served at tea houses and i was able to finish one all by myself (usually i cant). Un-deep-fried 'fu pei' was used as the wrap and i really like it as it has absorbed the juice and broth excreted from the meat and mushroom. It tasted more healthy too; the chicken strip and mushroom were juicy and i was especially impressed by the soft, spongy 'yue to', which had taken in all the flavours. Yummm.
the 'Ma Lai Go' was a pleasant surprise as it was VERY SPONGY and LIGHT despite its wet and unattractive appearance.
It carried a darker brownish tint and smelt of the sweetness of maltose. The texture was oh-so-fluffy and not did not feel heavy at all to eat. A must-try at this place!
To conclude - nice and cozy place for decent dim-sums at an absolutely reasonable price. Do not expect too much from the services as the staff (including the boss, or the manager?) were quite rude. When we asked for a switch to another table, the staff just snugged their shoulders and responded in an indifferent tone: ' yeah, why not?'(rising tone to the end) and i felt slightly offended - i was just trying to be polite and ask for your permission before moving around at your place!!!! Now whos the customer - you or i?
this got to be improved on. The place was quite comfortable to have a long and slow meal but be noted that it could get annoyingly noisy when it get crowded, especially when you have people speaking and laughing at the top of their voices.
I would come again, if and only if I could not make it to Sun Hing@Sai Wan - but here they definitely have one of the best 'ma lai go' in town!
Date of Visit: Mar 22, 2011
Spending per head: Approximately HKD54(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 5